Harley Lester (1904 - 1956)


Zedda Harley Lester was born in Colfax, Texas in 1904.

In 1929 Lester was a member of the Vaughan Texas Quartet. They recorded several songs on the Victor label with Lester singing bass. By 1930 he was working with the Stamps-Baxter Music Company and was an instructor with the company’s music schools. He was also the baritone singer for the company’s V O Stamps Quartet in Dallas from 1934-1936. By 1939, Lester was back managing and singing with the V O Stamps Quartet which had regular programs on KRLD radio in Dallas, Texas.

By early 1940, Lester had moved over to the Stamps-Baxter Quartet which also sang on KRLD. He also continued teaching in the music schools during this time. After company founder V O Stamps died in 1940, Frank Stamps assumed his brother's position singing bass with V O's former quartet. Lester sang bass with Frank’s previous group for a while in 1941 before returning to the Stamps-Baxter Quartet.

In 1945, Frank Stamps left his position with Stamps-Baxter and began a new company called the Stamps Quartet Music Company. Harley Lester joined Frank in the new company as a part-owner and member of the board of directors. Lester soon organized, sang in, and managed his own Lester's Stamps Quartet. This group utilized former Stamps-Baxter personnel including future Cathedral Quartet great, Glen Payne. By 1952, Lester was the manager and lead singer of the main Stamps Quartet. He switched over to the bass slot in 1953 where he remained until he left the quartet in 1955.

In April, 1956, Lester died suddenly of natural causes and was buried in the Colfax Cemetery in Van Zandt County, Texas.

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